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7 posts from November 2010

November 28, 2010

Is It Okay To Stand Up to Your Boss?

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I often talk about the importance of standing up for yourself when others are treating you poorly.  It’s important to stand up at home, with your friends, your children and, yes, even with your boss.  People often struggle, however, with standing up to their boss.  They think that what their boss says or does is somehow off limits.  They worry that if they do speak up, they’ll get fired.  Many people believe they have to take whatever their boss throws at them.

In my experience, the more poor treatment people take from their boss, the more poorly their boss will treat them.  Just because your boss is in a higher position than you at work does not mean they have the right to treat you poorly.  It means they are in a higher position—that’s it.  That position never gives them the right to be disrespectful or -- at the extreme end -- verbally abusive.

Basic respect is about basic humanity.  Everyone deserves basic respect.  Your boss has the right to give you critical feedback, give you directives to complete, supervise your work, tell you when they are unhappy about something you’ve done, put you on suspension and even fire you.  S/he does NOT have the right to yell, scream, intimidate, belittle or shame you in public or private. 

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November 24, 2010

Mean Girls At The Office

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Below is a post from my new blog http://lmerlobooth.typepad.com/straight_talk_4_women/ Enjoy!

I recently gave a speech for Zonta International entitled "Conflict in the Workplace:  How to Survive It, Manage It and Make It Work for You."  Not surprisingly, this preparation has led me to think quite a bit about work environments.  In particular, I’ve been thinking about all the mean things some co-workers are saying/doing and how much these people are costing companies, families, communities and, ultimately, our world.

If you happen to be a person who is making snide comments, spreading rumors, sabotaging fellow employees or being mean-spirited, you might want to look at what’s making you feel so insecure that you need to tear others down…and yourself down in the process.

Below are rules of engagement for the workplace—follow them and hold others accountable for following them as well.  We had enough mean girls in high school, we do not need to deal with one – or become a mean girl -- at work, too.
1.    Build co-workers up; don’t tear them down.  When you tear down a colleague you harm your work environment, which leads to less productivity and financial loss for your employer.  In this economy, a reduction in productivity is the first step toward lay-offs -- yours and your colleagues’.
2.    Be inclusive, not exclusive.  If you’re having a team lunch—invite the team.  Don’t exclude those less popular.  You’re no longer in Junior High, so make sure you’re not acting as if you are.  Remember, it’s always nice to feel that you’re on the inside and it feels terrible to be on the outside.
3.    If you don’t have anything nice to say about a person…don’t say anything at all.  There is no reason to gossip about how someone dresses, looks, spends her time, etc.  Pay attention to you and stop trying to get others to hate her—whoever she may be.  If you feel the need to bad mouth someone, look at what you’re jealous of, afraid of or threatened by.  This is your issue, not hers.
4.    Be a team player.  You should have faith enough in your abilities without having to sabotage or be jealous of the abilities of others.  There truly is nothing better in the work world than knowing you are on a strong, unified team at work.  Try partnering and collaborating rather than isolating yourself or others.
5.    Refuse to gossip; it doesn’t serve you.  People know that if you gossip with them, you will also gossip about them.  Gossiping leads to mistrust of you.  Refuse to gossip with anyone or about anyone.  If others are gossiping, creatively change the subject.  Boldly say you’d rather not talk about this topic or excuse yourself from the conversation.  In the long run, you’ll feel better for it and others will see you in a new light.

In my experience, when women are insecure, they play out that insecurity by trying to put other women/people down.  This doesn’t serve women or others.  Pay attention to how you act in the work place and start to become the co-worker you wish you worked with.  Act with integrity in the workplace and notice the shift that occurs within you and with others around you.  There is no place for cattiness, gossiping or mean-spiritedness at work or in the world.  Do your part to stop it.

CHALLENGE: Pay attention to how you talk at work.  Refuse to put others down, demean anyone or try to paint yourself as better than someone else.  Own your skills, mentor others to enhance theirs and do your part to make your work environment a great place for everyone.

November 18, 2010

Holiday Season Tip Sheet

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As the holidays get closer and closer I can almost feel the tension, stress and angst in the air with many clients.  Many are anxious because they want everything to go well. Others are resentful that the bulk of the holiday work lands on them.  Some are tense due to past negative experiences either as a child or in their current family.  Regardless of where you land on this issue, below are basic steps all of us can take to help this holiday season be a pleasurable experience.  I hope these tips serve you all well this holiday season.
1.    Don’t spend money you don’t have.  This tip is even more important today in our economy than perhaps ever before.  Don’t invite too many guests if you can’t afford it.  Don’t pay for the entire celebration if you can’t.  Don’t try to max out credit cards so you don’t disappoint your children, family members, co-workers etc. Overspending leads to greater stress, fear, anxiety and it is putting the wants of others above the needs of you.  If you don’t have it, don’t spend it.
2.    Learn to delegate rather than being a martyr.  The holidays cannot be a positive experience if you are slaving away 90% of the time in an effort to make sure everyone else is happy.  Trust me, if you’re not happy, they will feel it and it will take away from their experience as well.  Discuss with your loved ones what needs to be done and divide the list.  If you prefer to take the lead, then make the list and delegate what projects you’d like others to take on.

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November 16, 2010

Are You Thinking, “I’ll Change Him”? If So…You’re In Trouble

Below is a post from my new blog http://lmerlobooth.typepad.com/straight_talk_4_women/ Enjoy!

IStock_0changell If You Think You’ll Change Him, You’re In Trouble
In my work with women, I often look at unhealthy patterns in their past relationships for clues to what may be playing out in their current or future relationships.  A common theme I hear is women believing they can change the men they meet.  For example, Bailey met Stan two years ago in a bar with friends.  Her first impression of Stan was that he needed a lot of attention -- specifically attention from women.  He was flirting with Bailey, her friends and any other woman in the bar who noticed him.  Although Bailey thought it was a bit excessive, she also told herself that she could change him.  She figured that she would give him all the attention he needed so he wouldn’t need the attention of other women. 

Unfortunately, two years later, Bailey is beside herself with grief after discovering that Stan just had an affair—with Bailey’s close friend.

Continue reading "Are You Thinking, “I’ll Change Him”? If So…You’re In Trouble " »

November 12, 2010

All The Ways We Duck…And What It Costs Us

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Time and time again, I’m hearing stories about people ducking in order to avoid an uncomfortable conversation, a possible conflict, an angry spouse, an annoying co-worker, etc.  Both men and women fall prey to the ducking phenomenon.  Not surprisingly, ducking works no better for men than it does for women.  Ducking is a bad move for anyone, regardless of whether they do it at home or work, or with friends, parents, siblings or children.

More often than not, the very thing that ducking is designed to do—get people off our backs—is the very thing it creates—people on our backs.  So many of us duck, though, because, in the short run, it does get us what we want.  It avoids a conflict, settles our partners down and gives us a respite from conflict...for the moment.  The problem happens later, when the issue resurfaces, when we didn’t do what we said we were going to do or when we refuse to discuss things in any meaningful way.

Here are several examples of the way we duck:
1.    Make promises we have no intention of keeping just to get someone to stop yelling, nagging or complaining.
2.    Avoid sharing information that we know will upset someone.  In other words, we partake in lies of omission and think it’s okay as long as it wasn’t an overt lie.
3.    Complain, rant and rave to our friends or co-workers about someone, yet never say anything to the person we’re upset with.
4.    Deny being upset with someone when they ask us directly, then go behind their back to tell others how angry we are.

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November 08, 2010

The Fallout Of Affairs: Think Before You Leap

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Many people do not purposefully leap into an affair. Typically they start as innocent conversations, cups of coffee or lunches with a friend or co-worker.  Seldom are they a well thought out plan for deception.

Unfortunately, the impact is the same regardless of whether they were planned or not.  And the fallout is often way beyond what people expect.

Before you jump into an affair take a moment to think about the implications of that choice to you as well as to those around you.  The reality is that affairs rock marriages.  In fact, affairs actually destroy many marriages.  Below are some of the almost universal effects of affairs…the ripple effect, let’s say, of affairs:

1.    Affairs break the trust in relationships.  This mistrust does not come back simply by ending an affair.  Mistrust becomes a new entity in the relationship and typically lasts for years. If the partner who had the affair doesn’t address the mistrust in an honest, forthright and compassionate way, the mistrust is likely to remain in the relationship throughout its duration.
2.    Affairs have a tendency of being passed down from generation to generation.  Your children are likely to also struggle with affairs in their life (either their own or their partner’s).  This is such a powerful phenomenon that at times it can be shocking.  I’ve worked with several couples impacted by an affair who reported that there were no affairs in their parent’s marriage only to later find out that when they asked, there were indeed affairs.  Their parents just tried to keep them a secret from the kids.
3.    Affairs take 3-5 years to overcome…under the best of circumstances.  This does not mean you are doomed for 3-5 years of the kind of intensity prevalent in the first year; however, the affair takes up a lot of space for a long time.

Continue reading "The Fallout Of Affairs: Think Before You Leap" »

November 03, 2010

5 Ways To Handle Difficult Co-Workers In Office Meetings

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It seems like some people think it’s okay to slam a colleague by making some outlandish remark in front of the entire team.  These comments are often met with knowing chuckles, uncomfortable silence, eye-rolling and/or angry responses.  Unfortunately seldom are these comments directly dealt with, either by management or by the person being put down.

All of the above responses are exactly how you do NOT want to respond when someone is being obnoxious.  When you silence, roll your eyes or chuckle in response to someone’s poor treatment, you send the message that what they’re doing is okay.  When you respond with an angry intensity, you take the focus off of what the other person did and onto your over-the-top reaction.  None of these responses are effective.

Instead try one of the solutions below and notice what happens as a result:
1.    Be a mirror. Being a mirror means simply playing back to the person his or her own behavior. For example, if Tom laughs at Sally’s marketing idea and makes a sarcastic comment, Sally can simply say, “Wow, that was pretty sarcastic and harsh Tom.”  This simple statement draws attention to Tom’s comment and highlights the nastiness of it without being harsh or nasty yourself.  Often, the other person feels caught with their pants down, so to speak, and will quickly apologize.
If Sally wanted to make more of a point she could state, “Wow Tom that shut me down. Was that your intent?” When we hold a mirror up to another person’s behavior –in a respectful, centered way—it is an effective way to address mean-spirited behavior without getting mean-spirited ourselves.

Continue reading "5 Ways To Handle Difficult Co-Workers In Office Meetings" »

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